Caring for a Yorkie's teeth is a routine that many breeders have used for years, but that is just now becoming common with Yorkie owners. Just
like people, different Yorkies will have better teeth than others, but it is common for Yorkies to have problems with decay.. In addition some
foods, especially soft foods such as canned and semi-moist foods may not provide the scraping action needed to remove tartar and plaque from
the teeth, resulting in poor dental conditions that can result in early tooth loss, problems with infections in the mouth, gum disease and even
digestive disorders.

In a Yorkie  wild, natural state a large percentage of their food would be meaty bones or fiber type items such as fruits and vegetables and even
chewing on grasses. These natural food items, particularly bones, act as abrasive substances that work to scrape the plague off the teeth and
keep the gums healthy. In canned or semi-moist foods not only is there a higher chemical component that may lead to tooth damage and decay,
but there is also no abrasion against the teeth by the food as the Yorkie eats. The result is that particles of the moist foods lodge between the
teeth with nothing in the Yorkie puppies' diet to scrape them off. Just like with people, the longer the food sits against the tooth enamel the
greater the chance for tooth decay will be.

Often the first signs of dental problems and issues is the noticeable discoloration of the teeth close to the gum line. This can range in color from a
yellowish discoloration through to a deep caramel or even dark brown to black color along the gum line and up over the teeth. Usually by this
advanced stage there is also a highly noticeable irritated, bright red area around the tooth in the gums. With severe dental issues there may also
be bleeding from the gums, foul smelling breath and teeth that are very loose or that begin to fall out. Tooth loss is very serious in Yorkies
because it will limit the kinds of foods that they can eat and can possibly lead to nutritional problems as the Yorkie ages.

Thankfully there are some simple steps that Yorkie and puppy owners can use to help their Yorkie's avoid or minimize tooth decay. Some of
the easy and fun tips and tricks are to provide your Yorkie with abrasive, safe things to chew while playing or while they are alone. Nylon
bones, meaty knuckle bones, and specialized toys that are texturized to provide a scraping action on the teeth are ideal. There are also several
types of dental bones or edible dental chew treats that are designed to provide this natural scraping action that are great for between brushing
treats. They are not effective in removing already established plaque deposits that are advanced in size.

Dental Supplies

There are few dental supplies that the Yorkie owner will need to start this routine. The younger you start your puppy the better, even before
they get their permanent teeth is ideal. The basic supplies include a specially shaped Yorkie tooth brush or soft baby toothbrush, a specialized
finger sleeve and some canine toothpaste. Avoid using human toothpaste as the strong flavors of human toothpaste is not usually appreciated by
the Yorkie or puppy and can result in a bad experience for the Yorkie, making tooth brushing more challenging.

Puppy Dental Routines

Starting your puppy with regular, twice weekly or every other day tooth brushing routines is a wonderful idea that only takes a few minutes.
Many people include the dental cleaning in the grooming program and it just becomes part of the puppies routine.

The first step of the program is to get the puppy used to having fingers in his or her mouth, or a very small toothbrush. Puppies will, of course,
want to chew on either item, so they must be treated very gently but also understand that this is not a game. Start by simply rubbing your fingers
over the front teeth and rewarding the puppy for not biting or mouthing. Doing this after feeding is a good idea as the puppy is less inclined to
want to play and may be very relaxed and even a bit sleepy. Once the puppy is comfortable with the front teeth, gradually move around to the
side, being very careful not to hit the gums or push too far to the back of the mouth to cause discomfort.

Once the puppy is calm with this, add either the toothbrush or a finger sleeve, which is just a texturized cloth finger that slips over your index
finger. Add a bit of toothpaste and stroke gently against the teeth, paying particular attention to the gum line. The whole process should only
take a minute or two. Provide a healthy dental treat as a reward when you have finished.

Yorkie Dental Routines

If the Yorkie has been trained from a puppy, typically they are calm and will sit willingly for their dental routine. If the Yorkie has never had their
teeth brushed, this may be a bit of a new and maybe even stressful event. Start, like with puppies, in having the Yorkie comfortable with you
handling their muzzle and mouth area. Use your finger to gently rub the teeth in the front of the mouth, then gradually move to the sides. To get
to the inside surface of the teeth the Yorkie will need to open his or her mouth, which will usually be a natural occurrence if the Yorkie feels
comfortable and safe with the owner.

If the Yorkie snaps, bites or growls you may need to work more on the desensitization as they may be nervous and afraid of what is happening.
For mature Yorkies that are very uncomfortable having and extra person to help hold the Yorkie may be required for the first few times, but it is
really much better to go slowly and make the Yorkie feel comfortable rather than trying to force the issue

Removal Of Yorkie Baby Teeth

It is very common that the Yorkie will not lost all the puppy teeth, and often can have a double row of teeth as the adult teeth come in.  You will
need to have the baby teeth removed by your Vet at about 7 or 8 months old to prevent decay when the food gets stuck in between the adult
and baby teeth.  It also will cause the bite to go off as the adult teeth find areas to grow.  Yearly Dentals by your Vet will also help prevent the
loss of teeth as they get older.
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